Still No Sympathy for the Poor

Here’s Bryan Caplan:

What about the “losers”? Bite your tongue. When you call lower-income people “losers,” you’re falsely assuming that we’re all racing for the same finish line: material success. But to a large extent, lower-income people are just racing for other finish lines. Leftist outrage over income inequality is therefore deeply misguided. To a large extent, incomes differ because priorities differ. And if the poor don’t consider their lack of riches a big deal, why should anyone else?

As I wrote before, most poor people are where they are because of the choices they’ve made in their life. In fact, it is fair to say that, all things being equal, they don’t want to be rich. They would rather have whatever they have instead of wealth.
Note that this isn’t some deep psychological analysis, but rather a tautology: by their fruits ye shall know them. You can tell that most poor people want to be poor (or, more accurately, have what they have instead of wealth) by the mere virtue of the fact that they are poor. At this point in time, the markers of poverty are fairly well-known, and so only the astonishingly ignorant do not know what is needed to avoid poverty.
Thus, most poor people know that their past actions would likely lead to poverty, yet they made them anyway. Since they knowingly made those decisions, they are no more deserving of anyone’s pity than child who sticks his finger on a hot stove after being told not to do so.
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